September 29, 2012
Contacts: Jorge Fernández Porto (787) 448-2979, Ricardo Bouyett (787)
647-2981, Kathy Gannett (787) 565-2717
Vieques to Navy: Enclosing the bombs and explosives with barb wire is not a
All the community members of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), which
advises the Navy on the cleanup, are opposing the Navy's proposal to leave
contamination in one site in the west of Vieques which would set a dangerous
precedent for the cleanup in other sites with military toxics left by the
Navy's 60 years of practices in Vieques.
The site is called Solid Waste Management Unit 4 (SWMU4) and is south of
Green Beach and Punta Arena. The deadline for the public to comment on the
Navy's Plan is October 5, 2012. The community RAB members support
Alternative #5 offered by the Navy which calls for a complete cleanup. On
September 25, the Vieques Municipal Legislature voted unanimously on a
resolution also supporting Alternative #5. In the words of Vice President of
the Municipal Legislature Gilda Pimentel, "The one who dirties the house,
must clean it."
According to Jorge Fernandez Porto, who has served for more than ten years
as a member of the RAB, "The U.S. Navy is proposing to finish the cleanup of
one of the sites they contaminated by enclosing the area where they
detonated defective bombs, rather than remove all the explosives that may
still be in this location. This proposal, unacceptable to the community,
means that 352 acres in the Boquiquebrada area, an area used by residents
and tourists, explosive materials that endanger their safety would remain
there. The Navy simply would encircle the major part of the area and only
allow access to a strip along the coast, a picnic area and a parking area.
We maintain that the Navy must decontaminate the area they contaminated to a
level that does not pose a threat to life or the environment. "
The community RAB members believes a complete cleaning can be accomplished
without clear cutting important tree species - contrary to the scare
tactics that the Navy is using to justify leaving the contamination in
place. In a public meeting held on September 17, according to RAB member
Lirio Marquez, "the Navy stated that fences as a remedy will be instituted
in all places where munitions were used in Vieques. This is unacceptable to
the community. They expect the people of Vieques to accept fences and use
restrictions as a "remedy"? This is no remedy. It is simply, doing the least
possible, the cheapest way."
For more information, visit the Navy’s website:
Send comments to Kevin Cloe, U.S. Navy, email@example.com
Wilmarie Rivera, P.R. Environmental Quality Board,firstname.lastname@example.org
Julio F. Vázquez, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Note from Kathy: Please send your comments even if you miss the October 5th
deadline and send me a copy of your comments to email@example.com.